Pathological Instrumentation Disorder
forthcoming in The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases (Jeff Vandermeer and Mark Roberts, eds.)
|My old Clarion classmate Jeff Vendermeer asked me to write something for his anthology of fictional, fantastical diseases and I came up with this -- a twenty-first century illness that speaks to our ability to inaccurately sense our environment.|
The first diagnosis of Pathological Instrumentation Disorder (PID) will be made on May 12, 2006, in Toronto, Ontario. The patient, a Mr. Gary Warren, presented symptoms typical of extreme mental distress—elevated pulse, perspiration, acute abdomen, dilated pupils—at the Queen St. Mental Health Center, where a preliminary diagnosis of acute stress disorder was made. The patient's serotonin levels were normalized through quick trepanning, and he was entered into a course of group therapy sessions in the newly installed microgravity chill-rooms. Mr. Warren's symptoms worsened, however, despite daily trepannings. The only visible relief came when in close proximity to diagnostic equipment (EEG, e-meters, MRI/CT Scan apparatus). Even a wall-clock, a PDA, or a thermometer seemed to help.
Mr. Warren was moved to the Bertelsmann-AOL-Netscape-Time-Warner clinic and into the care of Dr. Jojo Fillipo, a specialist in media disorders. Under clinical observation, Mr. Warren was presented with a variety of diagnostic tools, beginning with those found on his person at his admission